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The Importance of Upskilling and a Real-life Tech Project Experience

Best selling author J. K. Rowling once said It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”. women++’s deploy(impact) aims to just that — to facilitate women’s transition into the world of tech through learning and acquiring the necessary skills in order to drive their aspirations towards a career in the field of technology. We had the pleasure of speaking with two past programme participants to find out about their career transition into tech, their experience as a deploy(impact) participant and why they recommend budding developers and techies to join the programme this year.

Now a backend developer, Alexandra Bödtker, made a decision to participate in a full-time, intensive web development bootcamp during the COVID-19 lockdown. Despite having a degree in Economics and working experience in sales for a number of luxury brands, Alexandra felt that she wanted more out of her job. Building interesting solutions to complex ideas and problems — this was her biggest motivation for her career switch.

“My biggest motivation for this change was that I wanted to build interesting solutions to complex ideas, which I felt the sales and training space could not offer me.”

To facilitate her transition into tech, Alexandra first became involved as an instructor with TechLabs.ch, teaching children between the ages of 6 to 11 about coding, robotics and all things tech. In October 2021, Alexandra took a leap and participated in the first rendition of women++’s deploy(impact) programme in 2021.

When asked about how the deploy(impact) project boosted her technical skills, Alexandra was excited to share her first experience with the framework React Native as she had zero prior knowledge. Through the project, she also had a chance to familiarise herself with several other new tools such as Sigma, Retro and Miro. Alexandra’s overall experience with deploy(impact) was hugely positive, providing her a space to sharpen her foundational skills through a real-life project for social good, which made her a more attractive candidate for tech positions.

“Learning a new framework definitely enhanced the foundational skills I already had and made me a more interesting hire as I had a more well-rounded CV. On top of that, the app was a big talking point in a lot of my interviews as potential employers were very interested in the project and how we built the app with zero prior knowledge”.

Like Alexandra, Emilie Humbert was also a participant in deploy(impact) 2021. She picked up her first taste of coding while managing website development throughout her past career years in finance and administration. Motivated to discover more, Emilie started looking at coding languages such as JavaScript, in detail. Her partner and circle of friends who were working in tech roles played a large part in inspiring her journey towards the realm of technology.

“My partner is a full-stack developer, and many of my friends are working in tech and that inspires me to want to learn more. Also, I wanted to have a more flexible working environment. Finance and administration usually requires me to be in the office but that is not usually the case for tech-related roles”.

Through deploy(impact), Emilie had the opportunity to put her GitHub knowledge to use and found it enjoyable working on it in a team setting. She also picked up the Agile methodology and Microsoft Azure while developing a progressive web application.

“I love to think about the design and the interaction of the user with the website to help solve problems. It feels absolutely amazing to see and own a product at the end which was not the case with my work in finance. I also feel that the tech industry is always moving and there is always more to learn”.

When asked if they would recommend deploy(impact) to aspiring developers or women looking to make a career switch into tech, both Emilie and Alexandra agreed enthusiastically.

For Alexandra, the experience supported her transition into her current role in a start-up as she proved herself valuable in providing useful recommendations that she had learnt from the project and her teammates.

“Deploy(impact) gave me great experience working in a specialised team where each person had their designated function i.e PM, developer, UX etc. This was my first experience working in a scrum configuration with sprints, which was especially helpful when I transitioned to my next role as the start up was just implementing scrum and I was able to help guide them with useful tips and tricks that I had picked up from my project and team”.

Emilie’s experience with deploy(impact) was a memorable and impactful one. She values the opportunity of being able to work with like-minded people who were committed to achieving a meaningful, common goal. Participating in deploy(impact) motivated her further towards realising her aspiration of landing a job in technology. It was satisfying to see a real-life tech project through, from start to finish in the course of just six weeks.

“Over the six-week long project, collaborating as a team for a good cause and the networking opportunities that were available to me during deploy(impact) were extremely helpful. It is such an amazing programme to not only improve my technical skills but also work alongside other developers, programmers and UX/UI designers towards a common goal. Importantly, it has also opened up job opportunities for me in the tech space”

About Alexandra Bödtker

Alexandra speaks six languages fluently, with a heritage stemming from Venezuelan and Norwegian roots. She loves diving in caves or with sharks during her free time.

About Emilie Humbert

Emilie enjoys the outdoors and travelling. Her adventurous spirit and curiosity for different cultures have brought her across continents, having lived in several culturally diverse countries, including Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Japan.

About deploy(impact)

For more reasons why you should sign up for deploy(impact), read our post on 7 Benefits to Joining deploy(impact) 2022.

Registration for deploy(impact) 2022 is now open. Head on over to our website to submit your interest today. Official applications open Aug 1 — Sep 10.

About the author

Clara Cho is a volunteer content writer with women++ based in Zürich. Armed with an academic background in European Studies and Political Science, Clara has embarked on a unique career path in communications and marketing for a variety of organisations, making her a versatile personality. She is enthusiastic about new ideas for creative and effective communication and is a big advocate of teamwork. Clara hails from cosmopolitan Singapore. She enjoys Zumba, hiking, travelling, handmade crafts and discovering new places during her free time.

Her favourite quote:

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde




Non-profit organization for diversity in tech

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a non-profit Swiss association that has the interest of diversity in tech at heart

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